When we think of children we usually envision happy, active kids running around without a care in the world. However for children with congenital heart disease they are often sickly and a bit of activity could tire them out. Some live sedentary lives not because they want to but because they need to. Many of them have uncertain futures and live each day at a time.
When we have the chance to help improve these children’s lives, every single smile we receive is priceless. Here are their stories and how Nu Skin distributors have helped create smiles.
At age 5, Krittipan, fondly known as Bell, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. She was born at a facility that lacked the proper health checks and her condition was not detected at birth. Bell would frequently be breathless and tired after a few minutes of outdoor play. Her parents were shocked and sad thinking they might lose their child. But with help from Nu Skin’s SEACHF, she had a heart surgery and recovered very well after that. The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation had regularly followed up on her case.
Fifteen years after her surgery, she was found that as she grew up, the valve needed to be changed. Bell had to have an operation again. This second operation was more risky than the first one, however with support from SEACHF and PCSF, the operation went well and she is finally well and back to normal.
In February 2012, Tan’s mother hired a stranger in Phuket to look after her 3 month-old baby and never returned. After a check-up at Vachira Phuket Hospital showed that he had valvular heart disease which requires a long-term treatment, Tan was brought to Phuket Children and Families Home. Since no relatives showed up, he was placed at Si Thammarat Home for Boys in Nakhon Si Thammarat. After an appointment at MaharajNakhon Si Thammarat Hospital, he was transferred to Songklanagarind Hospital for a complete examination which revealed that Tan had severe heart disease that required surgery. The doctor contacted PCSF and SEA CHF for financial support and Tan was immediately transferred to Kasemrad Hospital Prachachuen for the operation on August 21. His health problem had made Tan a quiet and unhappy boy. However, following surgery he has recovered well will soon grow up to live a normal life.
Waefarida was born with serious health issues. She weighed 2 kg at birth and had breathing problems. She was very small and all her fingers and toes were blue. The doctor said that she had heart disease and needed an operation.
However, her family was very poor and despaired at how to help Waefarida. As a child, Waefarida wondered why she was so different from others. She could not understand why she could not run around and play with her friends; why she had to visit the hospital
frequently; why her parents looked so sad; and why she had to take a lot of pills.
Fortunately with financial support from Nu Skin SEA CHF local partner, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation, Waefarida was able to have heart surgery in October 2004. Her medical follow-up required her to undergo surgery again every 5 years to change batteries. This was made possible with support from Nu Skin SEA CHF.
Waefarida is now 23 years old and is currently a teacher in a rural area in Southern Thailand, Pattani Province. Although she is teaching at a small school, she is so happy to be able make a difference in the lives of these children.
“The depth of my gratitude goes beyond a simple “Thank you”. I have received help from people I do not know. I have been given a new life from people I have never seen. As a grown-up, I have learned how much it means to be the receiver and I know how great it is to be a giver. This is a reason why I have chosen to be a teacher. I always keep in mind that I have received a new life because of the kindness I have received from others. I am older now and I should give back to the society. Although what I can do is very small, I will do my best.”
Marvin was born with a heart condition called Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). It affected growth and development and he suffered constricted breathing. These prevented Marvin from lively activities which are expected for a child his age. Moreover, if left untreated, it would endanger his life as time progressed.
As a result of his condition, he had been under long-term medication since birth but this was only a temporary solution. In order to reverse negative effects on his health, Marvin had to undergo corrective surgery, but his family could not support it. It was thus a great relief when Nu Skin SEA CHF - PCFS provided the financial assistance for the expensive procedure. 2-year-old Marvin is now a cheerful and lively boy..
Natchanon is the son of KitjaJitsakhon and PimolNgamlamai. Kitja works in a pig farm in Sing Buri Province and earns 5,000 baht a month. Natchanon was born at Sing Buri Hospital and he was a healthy baby. After spending his first 2 months at home, he got sick and started to breathe heavily. His mother then took him to PhromBuri Hospital in Sing Buri Province. The doctor suspected that he might have a heart disease. Since there was no pediatric cardiologist there, Natchanon was transferred to Sing Buri Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. Natchanon was then transferred to Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health or the Children’s Hospital. After the surgery, Natchanon recovered well and he no longer gets tired easily and he can now drink more milk. His mother is very happy that the surgery has saved her son’s life and allowing him to live a healthy life like other children. The family would like to take this opportunity to thank the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation and all donors for the financial support.
Jirayu, 8 years old, has had many health scares since birth. Diagnosed with congenital heart disease, his heart valves were located on only one side and this greatly restricted blood flow. He was only given 8 months to live and his parents were depressed and stressed over the high costs of surgeries needed. It was at this distressing time that Nu Skin SEA CHF gave them the much-needed support to save their son.
Jirayu underwent his first coronary heart bypass at a week old. However, to be able to withstand his second surgery, he needed to gain weight to reach 25kg. Unfortunately, he was unable to attain the standard weight gain and symptoms of the disease started to resurface. A third surgery was immediately performed to subdue the life-threatening effects but his weak physique led to the damage of some blood vessels. The operation was a success but he had slow brain development during his early years. Having been through these painful experiences, Jirayu is finally back on track, developing well and now looks forward to a bright future.
Nut was a skinny baby. The doctor found that he was born with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). When he was breast fed, he got very tired and was out of breath. His case was so critical that the hospital suggested an immediate surgery. Nut’s parents hesitated because they thought they would not be able to afford it. Fortunately, the hospital staff advised them to contact the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation. After the surgery, Nut was still not doing so well. He had pulmonary edema with endotracheal tube damage which required catheterization as a blood vessel with saline solution was blocked. Nut had stayed in CCU at Kasemrad Hospital Prachachuen for 4 months since he was born. The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation and SEA CHF provided financial support for the surgery, medicine, transportation and other expenses which could not be reimbursed, such as pulmonary hypertension medicine and vitamins. Nut has fully recovered. His parents would like to thank the team of doctors and nurses who had taken care such good care of their son.
With a smooth and normal pregnancy, no one expected Chanida to be any different when she was born. However, as a baby, her skin had a bluish tint and she had to be placed in an incubator to regulate oxygen flow. There was minimal improvement and doctors suspected that she may have a heart problem. It was later discovered that Chanida had a transposition of the great arteries and needed intensive care but was too young to undergo surgery.
Due to the high medical costs, Chanida’s condition became a constant cause of worry for her parents. It was only when she reached 10 months old that she received help from Nu Skin SEA CHF – PCSF. Chanida underwent successful surgery and was given a new lease of life. A well-rounded student today, she can now confidently work towards her ambition to become a mathematics teacher.
Prapassorn was born in a poor farmer’s family. Her mother is a farmer in Nakorn Panom province, while her father has diabetes. She started to notice her sickness when she was 4 years old. Prapassorn started to breathe heavily and got tired very easily. Her lips and nails turned blue. She had her first surgery at her age of 4. Her parents had to sell their car which was their only asset to pay for the surgery. Prapassorn had to have a surgery again when she was in grade 8. Luckily, this time her family received generous help from PCSF and SEACHF to facilitate the heart surgery that she needed. After the surgery, she recovered well. Her father is so happy that his daughter underwent surgery and survived the deadly disease. Now Prapassorn is studying Public Health at Kasetsart University, one of the Top 3 Universities in Thailand. She has a dream to help save other people’s lives.
Oatton is known as a foreign kid among the nurses for his light skin color and big eyes. He is a son of Phennapha Sriwongrat and Prasong Sriwongrat. They are fruit sellers in a fresh-food market in Ubon Ratchathani Province. Oatton was born at Sappasitprasong Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani Province. When he cried, his skin would turn blue. Therefore, the doctor had him undergo an echo test when he was just 4 days old. The result revealed that he had a heart disease. Then 20-day-old Oatton was transferred to the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health. The doctor had treated him and monitored him closely while he was waiting for the surgery as he needed to gain enough weight to undergo the surgery. Oatton was very patient even though he often got sick and tired very easily. He could not play for a long period of time. Whenever he cried his skin turned blue and it was very obvious as he has light skin color. Finally, Oatton had the surgery at the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation, Rajavithi Hospital. After the surgery, he has recovered very well. His skin no longer turns blue and he does not get tired easily anymore. He can now play and start to walk and run like other normal kids.
Rattanakorn has been a patient of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation since she was very young. She was born with jaundice, so she was kept in the incubator. A week after she left the hospital, her mother discovered that she got really tired while being breast fed. Therefore, she took her back to the hospital. The doctor said that she was born with congenital heart disease. The doctor at UthaiThani Hospital had cared and followed up on her case until she was 5 years old. Then she was transferred to the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation for a heart surgery. Rattanakorn had her first surgery done in August 2009. After the surgery, she had better appetite and was an easy child to care for. The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation regularly followed up on her case and found that she had cardiomegaly on October 11, 2009. She then underwent a her second surgery which has finally corrected her heart. Rattanankorn now lives a happy life like any other child her age.
Natthapol was born with congenital heart disease. Having septal defect and blood vessel infarction meant that he faced restricted growth and struggled through daily activities with his labored breathing and weak physical condition. He was on medication for 4 years in his young life until his first surgery. However, it was not the last of his operation.
He required a heart transplant to secure long term effects but the cost for the procedure was very high. Thankfully, when he reached 6 years 11 months old, Nu Skin SEA CHF provided the lifeline that he desperately needed. With a successful surgery, Natthapol can now look forward to a healthy childhood and a better quality of life.
Kao was born with only 4 fingers on his right hands and without any bones in his lower arms. He lives with his grandmother who is a temporary worker. Kao was born at Phitsanulok Hospital. When he was 5 days old, he had his first surgery at Nakhon Sawan Hospital due to gastrointestinal obstruction. Later, he often had a cold and the doctor discovered that he had congenital heart disease which made him tire and fall sick easily. Kao was later transferred to the Children’s Hospital to await corrective heart surgery. His case had been continuously followed up for 2-3 years before being transferred once again to the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation which has arranged the surgery for him at Kasemrad Hospital Prachachuen in Bangkok. The total medical treatment and medicine expense is approximately 200,000 baht. Without the financial support of the foundation, his grandmother would not have been able to afford it. After the surgery, Kao is now healthy enough to go to school like other children. He is good at studying and he likes drawing and arts. Kao and his grandmother are thankful to receive the help from SEA CHF, so that he could have the surgery, enabling him to live his life like other children. Although his life is not perfect, he and his grandmother are now ready to move on with renewed strength.
Ann is the youngest child of the 2 children of Mr. WijaiWitton and Mrs. NichaPanapitak who are Karen. They are rice farmers and general laborers in the remote area far from prosperity. In January 2015, when Ann was 4 years old, she was sick very often and got tired very easily. Her heart beat so fast that it caused a chest pain. The doctor found that her heartbeat was abnormal and suspected that she might have a heart disease. Ann has received generous help from the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation in facilitating the congenital heart surgery. After the surgery, Ann has well recovered and she no longer gets tired so easily.Her father is so pleased that his daughter received the surgery and survived the deadly disease.On this occasion, the family would like to express their gratitude to the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation and all donors for financially supporting the surgery.